Girl Raised By Monkeys Returns To Civilization, Can’t Adapt

Girl Raised By Monkeys Returns To Civilization, Can’t Adapt December 22, 2022Leave a comment


"I saw a hand cover my mouth, a black hand in a white hanky. Then I realized there were two people taking me away." That's the first thing Marina Chapman can remember. After that, just darkness.

When she came back to her senses, she was in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest, where she stayed for years. She lived among monkeys; they raised her and treated her as one of their own until she came back to human civilization, where she soon discovered that she would never be able to be like the other people.

The Story Of Marina Chapman

The Independent

The protagonist of this story is named Marina Chapman. That's the name she uses today, but she doesn't know which name her parents gave her at birth. She doesn't even know who here parents were or what her earliest childhood was like.

As far as Marina remembers, the first time she interacted with other people was when she was 10 years old. Before that happened, she had been a member of a community of monkeys in the middle of the Amazonian rainforest. But that's not all there is to it.

A Crazy Life

Daily Express

Before she finally left the jungle and ventured into human society, her life had been everything but predictable. It was a chain of adventures, changes and, thrilling and dangerous events. However, the hardest challenge would come after she began living among humans again.

Recently, Marina has written a book titled The Girl With No Name, where she exposes her life story, along with all the struggles she had to face. This is Chapman's story:

Marina's Earliest Memory

Public Domain

As of today, Marina Chapman doesn't know where she spent her first years, who her parents were, or what her life was like before she was 4 years old. Her first memory is the experience of being kidnapped.

She recalls having being taken by some strangers in her sleep, coming back to her senses inside a truck in the heart of the Amazonian rainforest. Then, the men that kidnapped her took her out of the truck. Right then and there, she feared the worst.


The Conversation

However, all the men did was leaving her stranded in the middle of the rainforest. Marina thought and even hoped that they would return for her; but she never saw them again.

For the next days, she spent all her time wandering around the rainforest; there was nothing else she could do. She searched for signs of human presence, but she didn't find anything. She was all by herself. She yelled and cried, hoping for a response that never came. She ate berries and slept in caves and holes in the ground. And one day, she encountered something that changed her life forever.


Planet Zoo Wiki

Marina encountered a community of capuchin monkeys that seemed to live in this particular area of the rainforest. She felt a strange sense of relief the minute she saw them. Even though they weren't human, they were similar enough.

She decided to settle there. At least, she wouldn't be all by herself. However, there was something she didn't count on: the situation was a lot more dangerous than she could have predicted.


Zurich Film Festival

Capuchins are far from friendly fellows and can get quite hostile if they feel threatened. The could have seen Marina as a threat, an enemy, or even prey, but they didn't. Marina wanted to be their friend: she saw how tight and cooperative the community seemed.

But at first, the monkeys just ignored her. Marina felt jealous when he saw them picking up fruit together, grooming each other and playing. But a few weeks after her first encounter with the community, she finally had the chance to get acquainted with one of its members.

An Older Monkey

Encyclopedia Britannica

One day, some tamarind gave Marina food poisoning. She could barely move for the whole day: she just lied on the ground, holding her stomach. She noticed something: the group of monkeys was looking at her. But why?

All of a sudden, one of the monkeys, who seemed to be one of the group's elders, walked in her direction. He took her hand and walked her to a lake nearby. The lake's waters were deep and muddy. Then, the old monkey made Marina, who was unable to resist, drink the dirty water.


Rainforest Cruises

Instantly, Marina puked. But she felt it right away: she was cured from her illness. The old monkey, who Marina now calls "Grandpa", had saver her. That was when she first started to be accepted by the monkeys.

She began playing and hanging out with the younger members of the community. The elders showed her how to clean herself and climb trees to reach higher-hanging fruits. But that was just the beginning.

Rightful Member

Public Domain

Eventually, the also began sharing their food with Marina and even grooming her. In no time, Marina was just like any other member of the community of monkeys. She felt welcomed and they treated her like she was just one of them.

The also let her sit in their company to eat fruit. Every time the adults went away to look for food and they took too long to come back, Marina felt nervous. She truly loved and cared about the new family she had found in the rainforest.


Beautiful Humans

"They were just tolerating at first. One day one of the younger ones landed on my shoulders, and if you've never been hugged in your life, and this animal climbs over your shoulders and puts its hands on your face, I tell you it's the nicest touch," Marina recalls.

And after some time, she even started being able to communicate with the family of monkeys, which had its own language of sorts consisting of screams and shrieks. This is how she recounts it:

Capuchin’s Language

The Globe and Mail

"Like when they whistle, it's a food thing. The feeling that there is food somewhere, so we all get ready to follow one monkey. Then there is a 'Tttttt' when they are grooming each other. And a warning when they feel in danger."

As this was the main form of communication Marina used for years, she ended up forgetting all notions of human language she had by the time of her kidnapping. But years later, her luck took a drastic turn.

She Still Felt Human


Marina says she felt happy in the company of monkeys. But still, she felt like she didn't fully belong there. She knew she was different. She had sometimes seen some hunters wandering around the jungle, but she was scared.

Until one day, she decided to reach out to one group of hunters who had ventured into the area. She went to them, walking on all fours and grunting. They quickly took her with them. Little did Marina know that her misfortunes were far from over.


The New Humanitarian

The hunters didn't have any intentions of rescuing Marina; instead, they sold her as a dancer for a bar in Cúcuta. Then, she was transferred as a maid for a local mob family.

She managed to escape. After that, she spent years wandering around the streets until a neighbor adopted her and moved with her to Yorkshire, England. Now, Marina could start leading a normal life in a loving household for the first time in many years. But that wasn't the end of her story.

Many Questions Her Story

Daily Mail

Recently, Marina has shared her whole life story, from the details of her life among the family of monkeys to her adventures in the streets of Cúcuta or the process of getting used to living among humans again, in her recently published book.

However, some people doubt that certain parts of her story are true or accurate. "We're not trying to prove anything," says her daughter Vanessa. "We're just telling our family story, and it doesn't matter what people think, really." But that isn’t all.

Feral Children

Public Domain

This isn't the only case of this type. Throughout history, there have been multiple cases of so-called "feral children": kids who live isolated from human society from a young age, often being raised by animals.

There are true stories of kids raised by apes, dogs, and even wolves. However, these kinds of stories can lead to different outcomes for those involved.

Cognitive Impact

Public Domain

The time ranging from a child's birth to the moment they turn seven years old is the most critical in the development of their personality and brain faculties. 

Essentially, kids learn all the basics about language, socializing, and how to interact with their environment between those ages. But what would happen if a kid spent most or even all of their childhood living among animals?


Public Domain

A kid who lives amongst animals during those critical years can sometimes have difficulty integrating into human society after being rescued. The behaviors they learned during their time with animals will already be too deeply ingrained in their minds.

These are the types of stories about feral children that can often turn out so much worse than Marina's. However, others turn out well in an almost miraculous way. Let's see one of them:

Ivan Mishukov

Public Domain

Ivan Mishukov was just four years old when he left his home and began living on the streets of Moscow. They were dark years for the Russian people. There was an unprecedented economic crisis, and a large proportion of the population lived in poverty.

Ivan's home was no exception. However, his situation was particularly bad. His childhood hadn't been easy at all.

Tough Childhood

Public Domain

His dad had left him and his mom before Ivan was born. Since then, his mother, who lived with him in a tiny flat in one of Moscow's most depressed neighborhoods, had had different boyfriends. None of them stayed for too long.

However, the last one was the worst of them all. He was the one who made Ivan leave his mother's house to never come back again.

Bad Situation At Home

Public Domain

The man was a raging alcoholic and infected Ivan's mom with his vice. Things got to a point where they were barely taking care of Ivan, who, at four years of age, came in and out of the house and roamed the streets as he pleased.

Until one day, the kid made a decision that for the better or the worse, would change his life forever.

He Left

Public Domain

One morning, he got up, walked out the door, went down his block's stairs, started walking on the street, and never came back. That would be the last time he'd see his mother.

He didn't know it yet, but he was about to begin an adventure that would last for years and shape his personality forever.

Street Life

Public Domain

He walked for the whole day. Eventually, he got tired and slept between some cardboard boxes he found in a corner. The next day, he ate some bread some bakery had thrown away the evening before.

He kept wandering around the following day. He got himself a raggedy backpack and a rug someone had thrown away. That was his life for the next few days until something happened.

New Friends


One day, Ivan ran into a pack of stray dogs. He didn't know it yet, but they were about to become his new family.

From the first moment, one of the dogs threw a glance in Ivan's direction. Then, he barked at him. It wasn't a hostile bark, but more like a greeting. Then, something happened that was the beginning of Ivan's new life.


Daily Mail

Ivan had some spare food he had retrieved from a trash can that same day. He took some in hand and showed it to the dogs. He had been alone for so long that he would appreciate any kind of company, even if it wasn't human.

The dog that barked at him was the first to come close. He ate the food Ivan was offering, and soon the rest of the pack followed.

Ivan’s New Family

DNA India

The dogs came close to Ivan and never left his side after that. From then on, everywhere Ivan went, he was in the company of the pack of dogs.

Ivan kept taking or retrieving food from anywhere he could and then shared it with the dogs. Eventually, he became their leader; he told them where to go, he divided them when they fought each other, and so on.

Dog Kid

Public Domain

This situation carried on for two years. Two years during which Ivan barely spoke a word of human language or interacted with another person. He barked and walked on all fours.

Ivan was perfectly satisfied with his situation, especially when he remembered how life used to be with his mother and her boyfriend. For the first time in a very long time, he felt love. He felt safe, warm, and happy… until one day.


Public Domain

Word got around Moscow about the feral kid who ran with a pack of dogs and sometimes stole food from butchers and restaurants. Eventually, the police set up a plan to catch him.

They attracted Ivan's dogs with meat and then caught the kid like an animal. Ivan cried and cried as they took them away from his friends. From that day, he started living among humans again.


Public Domain

"I loved the dogs and they loved me," were the first words Ivan said to the agents who caught him. He was heartbroken to be separated from his furry friends.

But he couldn't continue living like that. Ivan was taken to an adoption center. In a matter of months, he was adopted by a foster family who was moved by his story. He grew up and enlisted in the Russian Navy.


The Mirror

"I understand that if it wasn't for those dogs I wouldn't have survived in the street," Ivan says. He remembers those days fondly, despite all the struggles, but he's happy about returning to society.

"I am also grateful to policemen who took me from the pack, and of course to my foster mum who raised me."

In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.